Rugby League-RFL to lower tackle height over safety concerns


  • Rugby
  • Friday, 08 Dec 2023

Rugby League - Men's World Cup Final - Australia v Samoa - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - November 19, 2022 Australia's Cameron Munster in action with Samoa's Jarome Luai Action Images via Reuters/Ed Sykes/ File photo

(Reuters) - Tackling above the armpit will be banned in rugby league matches in Britain to "make the sport safer and more accessible at all levels", governing body Rugby Football League (RFL) said on Friday.

The RFL said that the permissible tackle height will be lowered from the shoulder to the armpit for all levels of the community game in 2024, as well as at age grade at professional clubs.

The change in tackle height will come into effect at the senior professional level in 2025.

The RFL has signed off on 44 rule changes suggested by the sport's Brain Health and Clinical Advisory Group, including a trial of 'Concussion Spotters', match limits for professional players and a mandatory four-week off-season followed by two weeks of non-contact training.

"We believe (the changes) are essential, as Rugby League must respond to developments in medical and scientific knowledge to prioritise the safety of those that play," said RFL chief executive Tony Sutton.

"... They offer exciting opportunities to increase the appeal and accessibility of Rugby League, especially at junior and community levels."

Rugby Union has also taken steps in recent months to lower tackle height.

Law firm Rylands Garth said last month that 475 sportsmen and women - 450 rugby union and league players and 25 footballers - are now part of several lawsuits related to concussion.

(This story has been refiled to add link to more recent story and updates number of sportsmen and women involved in lawsuits related to concussion, in paragraph 8)

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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